American personnel residing in Morocco should exercise caution in Casablanca tonight, according to the alert.
Rabat – The Arab Club Championship match between Wydad Athletic Club and Raja Casablanca, known as the Casablanca derby, should be avoided by American personnel living in Morocco, according to a security alert from the US Embassy and Consulate in Morocco.
The match, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, November 23, is expected to draw a large turnout of fans. The US consulate alert warned of large crowds, heavy traffic, and street closures that may result in congestion and delays in the area around Casablanca’s Mohammed V Stadium and the Arab League Park tram stop.
“In the past, some fans of these teams also engaged in unruly behavior,” the alert states. “The US Mission is recommending that its personnel avoid the area.”
The alert advises American personnel to keep a low profile and be aware of their surroundings.
The feud between Wydad and Raja fans is well-known, and matches between the two popular teams have sparked violent clashes in the past.
Riots and fights have occurred at previous Casablanca derbies. On October 20, 2007, a 17-year-old Wydad fan named Hamza Eddali died during an encounter between the rival teams’ supporters.
Police arrested more than 100 people after the Casablanca derby on April 18, 2010. A fight broke out between Wydad and Raja fans, injuring several people and resulting in substantial property damage.
Violent clashes between football fans, sometimes resulting in death or injury, are not uncommon in Morocco, nor are they exclusive to major matches such as the Casablanca derby.
In March 2016, two people died and 49 sustained injuries during a fight between Raja fans and Chabab Rif Al Hoceima supporters. The fans threw flares and destroyed parts of the stadium. Police arrested 31 people for acts of vandalism.
One year later, a riot broke out in the streets of Al Hoceima following a football match between the Chabab Rif Al Hoceima and Wydad Athletic Club. The crowd began looting shops, breaking out into fistfights, and overturning cars.
Most recently on September 25, 2019, a row between fans killed one young fan and injured five after a match between Wydad and AS FAR Rabat. Police arrested 22 people after the clashes.